How do you judge your self-worth?
It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Furthermore, how do you judge others, your friends and family for example? I’m writing this to pose the question, not to propose an answer. In fact, I’d actually suggest that you stop reading this now and have a think about this before you read any more. Seriously.
I was asked this just a few days ago. Of course, it’s something I think about a lot from different perspectives. Self-belief is at the heart of my thought system, if you could call it that. Initially though I found it surprisingly difficult to define except from the most abstract level. But then I thought about how I judge the worth of people around me. What was interesting was that most of the characteristics had nothing to with achievement or career, and everything about character. I thought of traits like kindness, forgiveness and loyalty, about moral courage and strength. These are aspects of character that are also easy to both like and admire. But does their absence or presence determine one’s actual worth? Does it make their life any more sacred than another? Once again this is an open question, no points or penalties for being right or wrong here?
About twenty years ago, I formed the opinion that everyone and everything is in a constant yet constantly changing form of perfection, that we can only ever be what we are in this moment, however ignorant or foolish or amazing that might be, based on the fact that we have lived our particular experience with our particular perspective that has been influenced in unique ways since the moment we were born and probably long before. It’s a rationale that demands, often against superficial likes and dislikes, that I honour and respect everyone, including myself. Most of all it demands acceptance of people and conditions as they are. You might want to change the world, but it’s actually essential to be able to accept the way things are exactly as they are before you can do so. Usually, it’s in this clear mindset that we see the seeds of growth, the bud of the lotus, in the present conditions.
In all honesty, it can be hard, very hard indeed to find let alone inhabit this mindset, especially if some part of your life isn’t the way you want it to be. Anyone can be nice, generous and forgiving if they’re having a great day, when conditions meet their demands. But learning to accept and value our own and each other’s worth when things are difficult is what makes things interesting.